Recruiting roundup: Notre Dame strikes

Brian Kelly and Notre Dame got their first commits in over a month -- and they were newsmakers. Five-star linebacker Jaylon Smith and four-star defensive end Isaac Rochell committed to play in South Bend.

After a quiet month of May for Notre Dame on the recruiting trail, the Irish have started off June with a bang.

Two major recruits committed to South Bend this week, headlined by five-star linebacker Jaylon Smith. The 6-3, 225-pound defender from nearby Fort Wayne, Ind., is Scout's No. 1 overall outside linebacker in the 2013 class.

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Smith was a highly coveted recruit -- as his ranking suggests -- who had offers from nearly every major program in the country. He figures to give Notre Dame one of its best defensive talents in recent memory.

"I visited Notre Dame on March 3, and from there I knew I was going there," Smith said Monday in making the announcement.

Scouts drool over the big, athletic Smith's potential, and most expect him to get on the field immediately for the Irish. Check out our scout's take and see highlights of him in action.

Smith said Notre Dame "isn't for everybody," but looked confident in his decision.

"It's really based on what you want in life," Smith said. "My character has been set so high, and I'm really just looking forward to the opportunity."

IrishEyes.com publisher Tim O'Malley said Smith's arrival is huge -- and rare -- for Notre Dame.


Isaac Rochell gives Notre Dame a versatile defensive talent.

"Smith's skill set, a unique blend of speed, range, power, and intelligence both on and off the field, has been difficult to attract to the program," O'Malley said. "It could be argued the Irish haven't landed an outside 'backer of his prospective prowess since Kory Minor in the mid-90s. His addition gives defensive coordinator Bob Diaco a difference-maker as Manti Te'o graduates from the program at season's end."

Joining Smith later in the week was four-star defensive end Isaac Rochell, who committed to the Irish on Wednesday.

"I just like Notre Dame and it is just the perfect fit for me," Rochell told Scout.com. "I visited them twice, this was not a hasty decision, and I just felt at home."

Rochell is the No. 12 defensive end in Scout's 2013 class and projects as a defender even though he has the versatility to play offensive line as well. Notre Dame already has five four-star offensive line recruits in its 2013 commit class.

O'Malley noted Rochell was "another essential athlete added to the mix as the team turns its front seven from weakness to program strength."

With 12 four-star-or-higher commits on board for 2013, the Irish are having their best on-paper recruiting run since the 2008 class, though of course plenty can still happen before Signing Day. Still, there's reason for optimism in South Bend.


Around the country:

Four-star Maurice Smith, the No. 7 cornerback in the country, chose Alabama late Thursday. The Crimson Tide also landed three-star quarterback Parker McLeod on Friday.

Auburn scooped up three-star cornerback Jahmere Irvin-Sills.

Boise State landed three-star center Andrew Tercek late Friday.

A future Matt Ryan? Three-star quarterback Tim Boyle committed to Boston College.

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Cincinnati landed a commit from three-star offensive tackle Eason Fromayan.

Two-star offensive tackle Blake Nowland went with Colorado State.

Connecticut added two-star wide receiver Dhameer Bradley to its commit list.

A pair of three-star wide receivers declared for Georgia -- Uriah LeMay and Reggie Davis.

Georgia Tech scored a commitment from three-star defensive end Kevin Robbins.

Kansas got a verbal from two-star quarterback Jordan Darling.

Major commit for Kentucky: four-star defensive end Alvonte Bell declared for the Wildcats.

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LSU has had a huge month, and it got bigger this week. Four-star defensive end Frank Herron committed to the Tigers, as well as three-star quarterback Anthony Jennings. LSU also added a pair of unrated players -- wide receiver Kyrion Parker and defensive tackle Kennard Swanson.

Maryland landed three-star offensive tackle Jajuan Dulaney on Friday.

Outside of Notre Dame, Michigan may have made the biggest splash this week. Two four-star defensive tackles chose the Wolverines, Maurice Hurst Jr. and Henry Poggi. Unrated Scott Sypniewski also committed.

Nice one for Mississippi in the person of three-star quarterback Ryan Buchanan. Unrated wide receiver Derrick Jones also committed.

Mississippi State landed a verbal from three-star wide receiver B.J. Hammond.

Two Friday pick-ups for Northwestern -- three-star guard Brad North and two-star wide receiver Macan Wilson.

Three-star wide receiver Jordan Smallwood picked Oklahoma.

After a huge week last week, Oklahoma State picked up another one this week -- three-star guard Rami Hammad.

This will help as Penn State tries to move on after a tumultuous last year: four-star wide receiver Will Fuller committed to State College. Cornerback Neiko Robinson also committed.

Two-star safety T.J. Taylor opted for Rutgers.

SMU nabbed two-star linebacker Carlos Carroll.

Three-star offensive tackle Cameron Fraser will play for South Florida.

Unrated linebacker Marqez Hodge tabbed Syracuse.

Two scoops for TCU, both of them three-star tight ends -- Bryson Burtnett and Charlie Reid.

A trio of unrated players chose Tennessee -- wide receivers Josh Smith and Kris Comas and offensive tackle Brett Kendrick.

Texas got the unfortunate news that Ricky Seals-Jones was de-committing, but the Longhorns also scooped up four-star safety Erik Huhn over the weekend.

UCLA picked up an offensive weapon in two-star wide receiver Inoke Lotulelei.

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USC just continues to kill it on the recruiting trail. The biggest single score of the week may have been the Trojans landing five-star Su'a Cravens, Scout's No. 1 overall safety. It's the third five-star commit for USC in the last three weeks.

A solid 24 hours for Wake Forest saw three players commit to the Deamon Deacons -- three-star center Cory Helms, three-star offensive tackle Taylor Chambers and two-star offensive tackle Josh Harris.

Major score for Washington on Friday as four-star Troy Williams, Scout's No. 14 quarterback in the class committed to the Huskies.

West Virginia added two three-star players -- linebacker Darrien Howard and center Tyler Tezeno.

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